Are you a Swiss chard lover? Then you may be interested in growing your Swiss chard! Growing your veggies is fun, and chard is perfect for beginners because it’s easy to grow. However, there are a few things you need to learn first, including how to harvest Swiss chard.
Swiss chard is a superfood, so keep in mind swiss chard is so good for you. This veggie has a unique taste; young leaves can be eaten raw in salads, while larger leaves are delicious. You can enjoy the leaves and stems while adding a splash of fun color to your veggie garden; it’s a win-win.
Contrary to what you may think, harvesting Swiss chard is quite a simple process. All you need is the right equipment and to follow a couple of simple steps, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a master on how to harvest Swiss chard.
How to Harvest Swiss Chard
- All you need to harvest your swiss chard is some pruners. You can use garden scissors as well.
- Individual plants can provide pickings for several months, and if you sow in spring and again in mid-summer, you should have harvested for most of the year.
- Cut off the outer leaves when they’re young and tender, working towards the center. Please don’t wait until they reach the maximum size.
- Harvest regularly to ensure a constant supply of tender re-growth.
- Pick cut-and-come-again crops at any stage once the plants have reached at least 5cm (2in) tall.
- Snip mini-leaves as soon as they’re a usable size. They should re-grow if you leave a small stump.
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What are the different types of chard?
Here are a few of the different kinds of chard you can grow:
- Rhubarb Chard looks like rhubarb with deep red stems and dark green leaves.
- Rainbow Chard has bright, almost neon, multicolored stems and green leaves.
- Peppermint Candy Chard is a fun variety with pink and white stripes on the stems and green leaves.
Should you grow Swiss chard indoors?
You can grow Swiss chard indoors. However, you must be careful and ensure they get as much sun as possible. You can grow them as microgreens, and as a few of the seedlings get larger, transplant them to a windowsill planter and let them grow to 6-8 inches before harvesting them as baby greens.
How to grow Swiss chard?
Choose your seeds
In optimal conditions, about 75% of the seeds will germinate. If you want a selection of vibrant neon stalk colors, choose seed varieties like “Bright Lights” or “Rainbow.”
Plant in Full Sun
Plant the Swiss chard in full sun from mid-spring all the way through summer. The optimal soil temperature is 10-30°C (50-85°F) because this plant grows best when you plant it in the cool season.
Water and care for the Swiss chard
Water well through the growing season. As the plants grow larger, they will need more water. Pay close attention to the pH of the soil, as the ideal pH for Swiss chard is 6.0-6.5. By the way – did you know you can easily do a pH test for your soil right at home?
This plant prefers loose, deep, and fertile soil. So, you will want to fill it with lots of organic matter and add a liquid fertilizer or compost tea twice during the summer.
How do you pick chard so it keeps growing?
Harvest individual stalks from the outer part of the plant and allow the inner ones to grow larger. If you notice the plants start to grow taller, harvest the whole plant before they bolt or send up a flower spike.
You can pick only the leaves. That’s a cut-and-come-again type of harvest. Cut, pinch or break them at about an inch above the ground. Start with the outer leaves first. And always leave about a third of them on each plant. This protects the growing bud inside the plant and enables it to regrow itself much faster than without leaves.
Does Swiss chard grow back after cutting?
Chard is best treated as a “cut-and-come-again” crop. This harvesting technique involves taking only a few older leaves from each plant, allowing younger leaves to grow for additional harvests later in the season.
How do you harvest Swiss chard without killing the plant?
You can harvest mature plants the same way as the younger ones: Cut or break a few stalks from each plant. This is more appropriate when you have less growing space available and want to harvest chard without killing it. The plant keeps growing, and you can continue to pick it.
How many times can you harvest Swiss chard?
Swiss chard can be continually harvested throughout the season. Harvest the outer leaves at the base of the stalk, leaving four to five inner leaves to continue growing. Swiss chard can also be harvested in closer plantings as baby greens, cutting the leaves about 3 inches above the soil and returning every week.
How to store Swiss chard?
Wrap the chard loosely in a damp paper towel and store it in an unsealed plastic bag in the crisper. It will keep well for a few days up to a week. Younger, smaller leaves will turn faster.
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Additional Tips on How to Harvest Swiss Chard
- The best time to harvest any greens is early in the day. The greens are going to be sweeter.
- Swiss chard can be continually harvested throughout the season. Harvest the outer leaves at the base of the stalk, leaving four to five inner leaves to continue growing.
- Swiss chard can also be harvested in closer plantings as baby greens, cutting the leaves about 3 inches above the soil and returning every week. Allow plants to re-grow to 5-6 inches before harvesting again.
- Harvesting when approximately two-thirds of the seeds are brown is recommended.
Depending on the scale of seed collection, individual seed stalks can be cut, or entire plants can be pulled from the garden and moved to a place where they can continue drying.